Why Data Hygiene is the Lifeblood of Doing Business Today

Why Data Hygiene is the Lifeblood of Doing Business Today

Dipak Singh, Director - Data & Analytics, Indus Net Technologies, 0

Dipak, a seasoned data analytics professional with over a decade's expertise, specializes in machine learning research and corporate training. A St. Xavier’s College 2011 B.Com graduate, he's an adept communicator and an exemplary representative of data science, showcasing a blend of knowledge and communication skills.

In the dynamic landscape of today’s business environment, data certainly reigns supreme. Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani summed it up aptly once when he stated that data is the new oil. With this perspective gaining its place in the sun, enterprises are steadily recognizing the importance of data hygiene in not only shaping smart decision-making, but also for gaining numerous other benefits. As businesses generate and gather huge amounts of data, maintaining the quality and cleanliness of the same is now a strategic necessity. This article delves deeper into the concept of data hygiene while underscoring its crucial role in enabling thought leadership and spurring intelligent business decisions.

The Dirty Data Conundrum for Businesses
Based on a 2019 Global Data Management Research study by Experian, the underlying insight was clear- many businesses do not take full advantage of the opportunities enabled by data for enhancing customer interactions and business performance. This is not an isolated instance; a survey by IBM unearthed how bad data cost the U.S. economy alone a whopping $3.1 trillion annually.

Dirty data refers to data that is not structured well, contains inaccuracies, or is incomplete. In the financial sector, for example, it may lead to delayed decision-making along with breaches of regulatory norms and below-par trading strategies. Companies depending on CRM solutions for lead-nurturing are similarly affected. Reports indicate that while 67percent of them use CRM data for targeting customers, 60 percent feel that the health of their data is unreliable. Healthcare Finance also states how dirty data impacts supplies management in the healthcare industry, since supply costs account for 20-30 percent of operating expenditure. However, this segment suffers from mismanagement owing to incomplete/inaccurate data. A similar effect is observed on healthcare inventory as well, which may have devastating consequences in terms of non-availability of supplies where they are urgently required.

In fact, dirty data can cost organizations 12percent in overall revenues, thereby directly affecting their bottom lines. The impact can be gauged from how just 33percent of marketers are confident enough to depend on CRM data for decision-making today. This makes a compelling case for the integration of data hygiene into the organizational spectrum at both strategic and operational levels.

The Foundation of Data Hygiene
Data hygiene encapsulates the procedures and practices necessary to ensure the consistency, accuracy, and reliability of data. It involves activities like data cleansing, enrichment, and validation that are aimed at enhancing the overall quality of crucial data assets. In other words, data hygiene ensures cleanliness through accuracy checks and the removal of errors ranging from misspellings and punctuation foibles to duplicate records, incomplete or outdated information, and poor parsing of record fields from various systems.

Benefits of Data Hygiene
A robust data hygiene strategy opens up a raft of opportunities to businesses in today’s competitive
global landscape.

Improved Decision-Making:
Data hygiene automatically bolsters smart decision-making, since it is based on relevant, accurate, and trustworthy data. When companies prioritize data hygiene, they naturally create an environment where decision-makers can depend on updated and consistent data. Risks of misinformation and errors are minimized while more accurate analytics are garnered alongside. This, in turn, enables a better understanding of customer behavior, market trends, and internal organizational procedures, thereby becoming a catalyst for strategic planning and innovation.

Data hygiene encapsulates the procedures and practices necessary to ensure the consistency, accuracy, and reliability of data.

Enhanced Customer Experience:
For customer-centric organizations, data hygiene works to facilitate better customer experiences. Accurate and clean data enables more personalized interactions, targeted marketing, and better customer service. Through maintaining a holistic view of customer data, organizations can ensure better customer loyalty and build lasting relationships. A clean database ensures that the right audience receives the right message at the right time, which can greatly boost brand perception and optimize revenues. Hence, good data hygiene helps brands maintain their reputation and integrity from a broader perspective.

Compliance and Risk Mitigation:
Data privacy and compliance are the biggest watchwords for organizations today. Data hygiene plays a vital role in mitigating risks of breaches, while ensuring that data complies with regulatory standards. This safeguards organizations from legal repercussions, while also building trust with their stakeholders and customers.

Strategies for Effective Data Hygiene
Here are the core components of an effective data hygiene blueprint for organizations.

• Regular audits of data sources to identify and fix inaccuracies.

• Deploying automation tools for routine cleansing and validation.
• Setting up a robust data governance framework that defines data quality standards, ownership, and processes.

• Educating employees on the need for data hygiene and providing training on its best practices.

• Utilizing advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to boost data quality.

• Implementing data standardization techniques including consistency in formats and naming conventions, normalization through predefined categories or values and templates for data entry.

• Setting up data access permissions and controls to ensure that only authorized personnel can view and modify data.

• A data purge strategy for eliminating irrelevant, duplicate and incorrect data. The process can be automated with rule-based workflows and periodic reviews.

In the era of digital transformation, organizations cannot afford to overlook the significance of data hygiene. By prioritizing data quality, they can leverage the full potential of data assets, thereby driving intelligent decision-making and building a culture of thought leadership. Data hygiene today is not just a best practice, but also a strategic necessity and differentiator, separating the leaders from the followers.